How to install Neva posts directly into concrete

Installing your neva into concrete

To install Neva modular fence on a soft surface like grass or soil, you’ll need to dig out holes and concrete in the Neva 2.4m aluminium or 2.4m steel posts (image 3).

Or if you prefer wooden posts to complete your look, the Neva slotted wooden posts can be sunk directly into concrete (image 3) or fitted above ground using the Neva concrete-in post base, which has the base’s anchor sunk into concrete, instead of the wood (image 4).

We’ll show you how to set posts directly into concrete using a quick setting, ready-mixed post fix. We’ll also show how to install the concrete-in post bases for wooden posts.

How to install Neva posts directly into concrete

Key:

3 Concreted in posts (into soft surfaces) can be used with aluminium, steel and wooden posts

4 Concrete-in post base (into soft surfaces) for use with wooden posts only

Safety first

  • Always wear disposable gloves, a dust mask and goggles when handling cement or post mix.
  • Ensure that you check for service cables before digging holes. To do so, rent a cable avoidance tool (CAT) to check for any pipes or cables beneath the proposed fence line. A good electrical cable installation will show electrical route marker or caution tape just above any hidden electrical cable under the ground. If cables are found, we suggest reconsidering your fencing plans.

Tools for the job

Here’s how to set steel or aluminium posts directly into concrete using a quick setting, ready-mixed post fix.

Install Neva posts directly into concrete

Step 1

Once the area is clear, stretch a builder’s line and pins taut from end to end along the line of the fence. Measure out the position for each post and mark it by pushing a bamboo cane into what will be the centre of each post hole.

To accurately mark out the canes, you need to know what spacing is required between the posts.

For slats or panels fitted in the landscape position, it’s 1826mm from the centre of one post to the centre of the next post (commonly called ‘centre-to-centre’).

If you are fitting half- or quarter-panels in a tall (portrait) position, the measurements will change depending on the posts you are installing. It’s therefore a good idea to put these panels in place against each fixed post to work out exactly where the centre point for the next post will be.

installing neva posts into concrete

Step 2

Use a post hole digger / spade or auger to dig all the post holes and remove the soil to a depth of 570mm and a minimum of 350mm x 350mm wide. You can also remove the marker cane at this point.

A large garden tub or wheelbarrow will help with the removal of the excavated soil. Keep some topsoil handy as this can be used to cover the top of the concrete pad later.

neva posts into concrete

Spare soil

It’s always a good idea to try and reuse the excess soil. Good topsoil can be used to raise beds and fill hollows around the garden. You can also add a thin layer of this topsoil to your lawn to promote growth and encourage a thicker, healthier lawn. For the subsoil, remove any rocks and clay first, this could go to your local refuse depot who may charge for the disposal. Next, layer the subsoil with ‘green’ garden waste like leaves and cut grass in a compost bin. A year later, and you will have a more usable nutrient rich soil to use in your garden.

 

Step 3

Place the first post into it's hole and reposition the builders line and pegs so the line goes flush with the face of the post and across all the post holes, a few centimetres above the ground. This will be the inside fence line and help you set all the posts along a level line.

neva posts in concrete installation

Step 4

Check that the top of the post will be installed to the correct height required for your fence. This might involve checking the height of the panel or the finished height of the slats and checking this measurement against the post in the hole with a tape measure.

Adjust the depth of the hole as required.

To continue concreting the posts directly into a soft surface, carry on following these instructions. If you want to install wooden posts into an anchored concrete-in post base, jump from here to the section Installing the Neva concrete-in post base and wooden posts.

Step 5

The mixing instructions for ready-mixed post fix will vary by product, so always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, but in essence, here’s what to do…

First, half fill the hole with clean mains water using a bucket or watering can.

Step 6

Ensure the recesses of the post are facing the correct way along the fence line to take the slats or panels. Have a helper hold the post in place.

Step 7

Pour the post mix into the hole evenly around the post until no water is visible. It’s usually one bag of post-fix per post.

Gently pour more water on top of any visible dry powder. The aim is to set the concrete a few centimetres below the surface so that soil can be added on top of the concrete when it’s set. This will give a neater look to the finished fence.

Step 8

Attach a post level to the middle of the post.

Position the post and keep checking the post is plumb level and ensure the post stays perfectly vertical as the mix sets. Depending on the post mix used, this could set in under ten minutes, and then harden rapidly.

Step 9

Before the concrete sets, use a brick trowel to smooth the concrete surface downwards (away from all four sides of the post) so that rainwater will drain away from the post. This is particularly important when setting wooden posts in concrete to help prevent the post from rotting.

Keep it clean

Don't forget to clean the trowel after use with clean water before the concrete dries hard.

 

Step 10

Install the other posts as described above, ensuring the centre-to-centre spacing is correct for each post as you go along the line one at a time.

Let the concrete set hard (as per the product instructions) before installing the slats and panels, otherwise the weight of the fence and the wind could move the posts out of position and make it impossible to slide in the slats or panelled fences.

When the concrete has set, add a sprinkling of top soil to the top of the concrete footing to hide the grey concrete.

See How to install Neva modular slats and panels for what to do next.

Installing the Neva concrete-in post base and wooden posts

The Neva concrete-in post base has two anchors which are embedded into the concrete. This raises the wooden posts above ground level to help prevent against rot underground.

Neva how to install into concrete

As per the instructions above, dig the holes for the anchors at 570mm deep and a minimum of 350mm by 350mm wide and position a tight string guideline above all the post holes.

installing neva posts concrete

Tools for the job

Once all the post holes are dug, you’re ready to bolt the post into the concrete-in post base and then set it in concrete, so here’s what to do step-by-step:

Step 1

Clamp two wooden half posts flush together, back-to-back. This can either be done in a workbench or clamped together and placed on a flat surface.

Drill two pilot holes with a 2mm diameter drill bit, one about 20cm from the bottom of the post and the other about 5cm from the top. Go through the centre of the recess, all the way through the first post and about 1cm into the second post.

neva

Step 2

Using a screwdriver, screw the two posts together with two 30mm exterior wood screws. Remove the clamps.

neva fencing

Step 3

Insert the assembled post into the base ensuring the recesses of the posts follows the intended line of the fence.

neva

Step 4

Mark circles where to drill the four holes with a carpenter’s pencil onto the post. Repeat marking the other side of the post too.

Step 5

Remove the post and divide the eight circles drawn on the post with two extended lines using a ruler, so each circle is divided into four equal parts. The centre points will help you to centre the drill bit and give you a visual check on the exit holes when drilling.

neva fence

Step 6

There are a number of ways you could drill perfectly perpendicular holes through the post for the bolts. The best option would be to use a drill stand or a bench drill and drill four perfectly straight holes with a 12mm wood drill bit.

If you do not have one of these tools you can make a simple drill guide (or jig) and we’ll explain what to do next.

Either way, it will be easier to drill down vertically into the post rather than trying to line up the holes and drill through the post whilst it is still upright within the support.

Step 7

First we need to make the jig.

Nail a couple of 50mm x 25mm x 100mm timber offcuts together to form a right angle. Nail them together to create an L-shaped guide 50mm deep rather than a flat ‘L’ 25mm deep.

It’s important to make sure the inside edge is a perfect right angle. Check it is 90 degrees with a square or protractor.

Step 8

It’s a good idea to practice on an offcut of timber first to get used to the jig and get a feel for how it works. This will help eliminate any costly mistakes when drilling the posts.

Practice steps 9 to 12 first using an off-cut of timber before replacing with the actual post.

Step 9

Clamp the post in a workbench with four of the markings facing uppermost and check the post is level with a spirit level. You may need some help to support the post, as they are long.

Step 10

Fit a 12mm wood drill bit into the drill and place its tip onto the centre point of the first circle.

Still holding the drill vertically in position, position the internal corner of the jig tight to the drill bit.

Step 11

Clamp the jig into position onto the post.

Step 12

Drill the hole keeping the drill perfectly square, straight and tight within the corner of the jig. If the drill has a spirit level set within the drill, keep an eye on this too to help keep the drill bit straight.

The jig will help keep the drill bit perfectly vertical and you can safely remove the jig if the drill bit is not long enough to go all the way through the post near the end of drilling the hole.

Step 13

Drill the remaining holes in the same manner, ensuring you are going through the centre markings on the other side of the post.

Step 14

Place the posts back into the metal base and insert the four bolts, with the washers on the outside of the base, followed by the nuts.

Step 15

Tighten the two bottom bolts first with an adjustable spanner and ratchet before tightening the two remaining bolts.

Step 16

Put the post with its anchor base into the first hole and position the face of the post base with the string guideline and ensure the recesses (or grooves) follow the intended line of the fence, so the panels can be slotted in later. Have a helper hold the post in place.

fencing neva

Step 17

The mixing instructions for ready-mixed post fix will vary by product, so always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, but in essence, here’s what to do…

First, half fill the hole with clean mains water with a bucket or watering can.

Step 18

Pour the post mix into the hole evenly around the post until no water is visible. It’s usually one bag of post-fix per post.

Gently pour more water on top of any visible dry powder. The aim is to set the concrete level with the surface.

Step 19

Attach a post level to the middle of the post.

Position the post and keep checking the post is plumb level and ensure the post stays perfectly vertical as the mix sets. Depending on the post mix used, this could set in under ten minutes, and then harden rapidly.

Step 20

Before the concrete sets, use a brick trowel to smooth the concrete surface downwards (away from all four sides of the post) so that rainwater will drain away from the post base.

Keep it clean

Don't forget to clean the trowel after use with clean water before the concrete dries hard.

 

Step 21

Install the other posts as described above, ensuring the centre-to-centre spacing is correct for each post as you go along the line one at a time.

Let the concrete set hard for all the posts (as per the product instructions) before installing the slats and panels, otherwise the weight of the fence and the wind could move the posts out of position and make it impossible to slide in the modular fence.

See How to install Neva modular slats and panels for what to do next.